Raw Food Diet in a Nutshell
Since turning to a raw food diet full of delicious fruits and veggies, my life became more vibrant on so many levels. Although you might only think about all the stuff you have to cut out, a raw diet is actually much more about abundance. There are so many juicy and flavourful foods which taste wonderful AND let your body feel at its best.
Raw food is considered anything that is not heated above 45° Celsius or 112° Fahrenheit.
Therefore some raw vegan dishes are made with a dehydrator where the temperature remains below this sensitive limit. In a broader sense a raw food diet can also include raw eggs, milk, meat, fish or honey. But for me, a plant based diet is the only reasonable and compassionate choice, so I will focus on a diet without any animal products.
Just lettuce and cucumbers now? – What to eat as raw vegan
It is not at all just about green lettuce – you actually get to dive into so many colorful, juicy fruits and veggies on this journey. I seem to stumble across a new exotic fruit almost every week while traveling. The raw vegan diet also includes nuts, seeds, sea vegetables like spirulina or chlorella, fermented foods and sprouts. The great by-product is that you will naturally eat less processed foods when you turn to more raw produce. This also means less harmful food additives or industrial solvents that are most often included.
Colorful as a flower meadow – Types of raw food diets
Following a raw vegan diet can still mean so many different things. The strongest distinction you could make when observing different styles of eating raw is the share of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. In this sense, the foods containing mostly carbohydrates are fruits and veggies, the ones with a higher fat content are nuts and seeds. Therefore some people are focusing on high-carb foods with a lower intake of fats in their diet. On the other hand, some people eat mostly high-fat foods with a lower proportion of carbohydrate-rich foods. But there are also raw vegans all in between these two positions.
The Raw Gourmet – Low-carb, high-fat diet
There are raw vegans that eat a much bigger proportion of fatty foods and less carbohydrate-rich fruits and veggies in their diet. Nowadays this is often called raw gourmet cuisine similar to the widely-known keto diet. Such a way of eating might consist of dishes like raw lasagne, pizza, wraps, cakes, crackers or cheese plates. These meals most of the time include a lot of nuts and seeds. They are blended into a cream and then dehydrated to make a rich pizza base or crunchy crackers.
I love to dive into such delicious treats now and then – it is surprising how similar it tastes to many traditional cooked recipes. Nevertheless, I believe in the healthy benefits of a low-fat diet and therefore enjoy carbohydrate-rich foods on a daily basis. The advantages for your body are so vast, that healthy carbs deserve a whole post for themselves.
The Fruitarian – High-carb, low-fat diet
Since fruits are easier to digest, the diet of strict fruitarians consists of just fruits, smoothies and colourful fruit bowls. And did you know that tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers and avocados are actually also fruits? Apart from that some people also expand the definition and include veggies of all kinds. These can be turned into beautiful green salads, veggie sticks with a creamy dip, cauliflower rice, brokkoli sushi or in tasty recipes like zucchini noodles. Of course, such a low-fat diet can still include fatty foods like nuts and seeds, just only in a much smaller proportion.
As always in life, you can not put anyone into a box. Most people whose diet consists of raw, plant-based foods don’t follow a strict regime nor a specific percentage of fats and carbs. Therefore, these two sides also give enough space for a middle way.
Smoothies can be a great staple on a high-carb, raw food diet. They also offer an easy way to get in more leafy greens.
Don’t kill the good stuff – Cooking and its effects
Did you know that the custom of cooking our foods actually alters its nutritional value? Enzymes are destroyed beyond a temperature of about 45°C. And since they take part in any metabolic process, this can have a great impact on our overall health. Without a sufficient intake of enzymes the vitamins, minerals or hormones in our body can not do their job properly and several health conditions can be the result. Read more about the impact of cooking on our health in our recent article Looking behind cooking.
Great digestion, happy body – Support your digestive processes
Apart from that, raw foods move much faster through our digestive system. Cooked foods, especially fatty animal products, sit in our body for quite some time since it is more complicated to digest them. This results in fermentation processes within our digestive tracts which cause gas, inflammation and an accumulation of toxic substances.
This is also the reason why the stool of people with a diet rich in animal products and cooked foods usually has an unpleasant odour. And did you know that 2-4 bowel movements daily are a sign of healthy digestion? Try raw foods for a certain time and you will definitely notice the difference while visiting the restroom.
The sweet spot – The acid-base balance of raw foods
Our diet also influences the acid-base balance in our body. If our body’s pH value becomes more acidic, we are risking to develop diseases. An acidic environment reduces the efficiency of our cells and inhibits the continuous removal of waste through our lymphatic system. Among air pollution, a stressful lifestyle, processed foods or insufficient water consumption – cooked foods also lead to more acidity in our body. Raw food on the other hand supports the alkalization of the body and therefore counteracts this degenerative process.
Trade your empty calories for richness of nutrients
Furthermore, raw foods such as fruits and veggies are naturally lower in calories, so that we can eat larger quantities. So we not only consume foods with a higher nutrient-density, we are also eating more of them compared to mostly cooked diets. Therefore a raw vegan diet makes it also much easier to loose some excess weight while not staying hungry. On top, the intake of sufficient nutrients, dietary fiber and healthy fruit sugar helps to overcome unhealthy food cravings. This can further contribute to sustainable, healthy weight loss without staying hungry. But if you would like to maintain your current weight or even get a little more body mass, this is also possible. There are several smart methods you can follow to make sure this lifestyle supports your individual goals.
Your eyes will love the colors, your taste buds the flavors – rainbow salad!
More than just raw food – The new clarity of mind
Many raw foodies are amazed by the great mental clarity and uplifted mood a transition to a raw food lifestyle brings along. This also translates to an easier journey to overcome conditions like depression, addictions and anxiety. If you are into meditation, yoga or other spiritual practices you can benefit from more profound adventures into the depth of your inner self.
An enhanced taste experience as a exciting benefit
Did you ever go through a juice cleanse or similar fasting protocol and felt that everything tasted much stronger afterwards? This is what a raw food diet can feel like all the time! Not only your tastebuds, but also all your other senses might become more sensitive. For me, every colour seemed to be brighter, every smell reached more intense and common sounds became fascinating.
A transition to a new diet or lifestyle can be quite a challenge and it is rarely done over night. But it can be a life-changing step, as long as you know your own motivation. So why are YOU interested to including more raw foods into your daily life? With a clear intention behind your transition, any shift towards more health and happiness becomes much easier and more rewarding.